Last night, after a difficult evening, I decided to go out for a walk. Earlier in the evening my wife and I visited a friend who is in a hospice facility in Grand Rapids dying from cancer. I sang some praise songs for her, we talked for a while, and we prayed with her before we left. We hugged her and walked out of the facility and left to go home. She said a few things while we were there that became amazingly difficult for me to process. She has two little girls, and they didn’t like to come visit her because it scared them. That was hard to imagine and process for me. However, the one thing she said that I can’t get out of my mind is that she’s scared to die, and she has been praying that God would take her in her sleep. I couldn’t get out of my head last night that when she closes her eyes, she doesn’t know if she’s going to open them again. While that is true for all of us if we really consider it, the reality of it is completely concrete for her. It’s not just this theoretical concept. When I close my eyes to go to sleep, I will more than likely open them again and get to go on enjoying my healthy wife and kids, my nice home, my cushy job, my friends, and on and on… I lost it a few times last night. Reality was a little too much for me. I decided to go for a walk.
As I was out walking, I was listening to one song over and over called “The Reckoning” by Andrew Peterson which is all about the longing for God to come back and make things right. I was sobbing like a baby. I mean full blown chest heaving, body shaking bawl fest… I can honestly say I haven’t felt that broken since I lost my best friend in high school. While I am good friends with this woman, it wasn’t losing her that was getting me. It was that her family was losing her, and that she was losing her family.
As I walked up the hill next to the local high school my eyes were drawn upward and I noticed that it was an incredibly clear night and all the stars were out. It was an absolutely amazing sight. All around me there was no lights on so it really brought the stars out. Saranac doesn’t have much of a glow like a bigger city does so it made for some great star gazing. As I continued to walk and gaze up a thought started to stir in my head…
How often do you look up at the stars and not fully take them in? What I mean is that usually my star gazing experience consists of a quick glance up to see the neat little lights in the sky. I never take the time to look at them and think about just how unfathomable they really are. These little blinky lights are actually gigantic balls of fire and fury that are millions of miles away! It’s easy to say that and not really let it register so let me say it again. These little twinkly lights are actually gigantic balls of fire and fury that if you were to even get within a 1,000,000 miles of you’d be incinerated. They are on a scale of size that you can’t fathom, and they are a distance away from us that is so astronomical that if we traveled at the speed of light we’d never reach most of them in our lifetime. Does that strike anyone as completely unfathomable and unbelievable? I mean we know it’s true because all the scientist who have done the leg work tell it is true, and because we can simply look up and see them. So we know they exist, but how seriously do we take them?
They are beautiful and terrifying. They are infinitely distant, but we are comforted by their light which doesn’t seem so far. They are so unapproachable that if we get within 1,000,000 miles we’d be completely incinerated, yet we are drawn to them.
My gazing up at the stars turned into worship of the God of the universe. Everything in us, if we are honest, knows there is more to this existence then what we see. He’s there. We can all see Him. Creation is screaming out His existence. We can give him a quick glance and walk away never taking him seriously. Or we can gaze full on into His amazing face and stand in awe at how incredible He is. He is holy and exists in unapproachable light… yet we long so desperately to be drawn into Him. He is beautiful, but He is fire and fury and will not take second place in our hearts to anything else.
Decide for yourself, but I feel that gazing at the stars and the cosmos may be just about the most convincing proof for the existence of God that there is. I was comforted by that last night as I was thinking about my friend who is losing her life. My prayer for my friend is that, that God who is bigger than the stars and closer than we can bear sometimes would bring her peace as she closes her eyes at night with the uncertainty of whether she will open them again here on this broken planet, or within His presence.